Monday, August 8, 2022

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Sound Check


“Rebel Heart”
Boy Toy


“You’re gonna love this,” Madonna claims in the first line of the song, “Bitch I’m Madonna.” But despite her seemingly confident proclamation, love never really blooms. The Diplo-produced track is almost completely uninspired and quickly devolves into a mish-mash of EDM ear-barf. The rest of the album is not quite as bad, but the entire project never seems to escape this feeling of desperation. As she has gotten older, Madonna has resolutely dug her heels in and refused to acknowledge the fact that certain things have passed her by. So here we are, getting to listen to autotuned, dubstepped Madonna name dropping Beyonce and Lady Gaga as if she is still one of them. But Madonna churning out club songs at 50 is a bit like watching an old-timer’s baseball game. Sure, it is great to see the legends trot out for a last round of applause, but nobody thinks they can still hit a fastball. CV


Of MontrealOf Montreal
“Aureate Gloom”

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Of Montreal is like the smart kid in grade school who was always a little too smug about his life. “Aureate Gloom” is — assuming you are a fan of the act to begin with — probably the best work that you have heard from Of Montreal in five years. But hiding the work behind titles like “Apollyon of Blue Room” and “Empyrean Abattoir” is just gratuitous. The actual music on the album at times feels slap-dash and mercurial, which is fitting given Kevin Barnes’ in-the-moment writing style. There are moments of genuine brilliance (the previously mentioned “Apollyon…”), but just as many moments of discordant, aimless wandering. If Barnes could ever climb out of his own navel and get the voices in his head to sing together, Of Montreal could be capable of Pink Floyd-levels of genius. But don’t hold your breath. CV

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